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How Does Insulin Help Control Blood Sugar Levels?

How Insulin And Glucagon Work

How Insulin And Glucagon Work

Insulin and glucagon are hormones that help regulate the levels of blood glucose, or sugar, in your body. Glucose, which comes from the food you eat, moves through your bloodstream to help fuel your body. Insulin and glucagon work together to balance your blood sugar levels, keeping them in the narrow range that your body requires. These hormones are like the yin and yang of blood glucose maintenance. Read on to learn more about how they function and what can happen when they don’t work well. Insulin and glucagon work in what’s called a negative feedback loop. During this process, one event triggers another, which triggers another, and so on, to keep your blood sugar levels balanced. How insulin works During digestion, foods that contain carbohydrates are converted into glucose. Most of this glucose is sent into your bloodstream, causing a rise in blood glucose levels. This increase in blood glucose signals your pancreas to produce insulin. The insulin tells cells throughout your body to take in glucose from your bloodstream. As the glucose moves into your cells, your blood glucose levels go down. Some cells use the glucose as energy. Other cells, such as in your liver and muscles, store any excess glucose as a substance called glycogen. Your body uses glycogen for fuel between meals. Read more: Simple vs. complex carbs » How glucagon works Glucagon works to counterbalance the actions of insulin. About four to six hours after you eat, the glucose levels in your blood decrease, triggering your pancreas to produce glucagon. This hormone signals your liver and muscle cells to change the stored glycogen back into glucose. These cells then release the glucose into your bloodstream so your other cells can use it for energy. This whole feedback loop with insulin and gluca Continue reading >>

Controlling Blood Sugar

Controlling Blood Sugar

Insulin is continuously released into the blood stream. Insulin levels are carefully calibrated to keep the blood glucose just right. Insulin is the main regulator of sugar in the bloodstream. This hormone is made by beta cells and continuously released into the blood stream. Beta cells are found in the pancreas, which is an organ behind the stomach. Insulin levels in the blood stream are carefully calibrated to keep the blood glucose just right. High insulin levels drive sugar out of the bloodstream into muscle, fat and liver cells where it is stored for future use. Low insulin levels allow sugar and other fuels to be released back into the blood stream. Overnight and between meals, insulin levels in the blood stream are low and relatively constant. These low levels of insulin allow the body to tap into its stored energy sources (namely glycogen and fat) and also to release sugar and other fuels from the liver. This overnight and between-meal insulin is referred to as background or basal insulin. When you haven’t eaten for a while, your blood sugar level will be somewhere between 60 to 100 mg/dl. When eating, the amount of insulin released from the pancreas rapidly spikes. This burst of insulin that accompanies eating is called bolus insulin. After a meal, blood sugar levels peak at less than 140 mg/dl and then fall back to the baseline (pre-meal) range. The high levels of insulin help the sugar get out of the blood stream and be stored for future use. There are other hormones that work together with insulin to regulate blood sugar including incretins and gluco-counterregulatory hormones, but insulin is the most important. Self-assessment Quiz Self assessment quizzes are available for topics covered in this website. To find out how much you have learned about Facts a Continue reading >>

What Is Insulin?

What Is Insulin?

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use sugar (glucose) from carbohydrates in the food that you eat for energy or to store glucose for future use. Insulin helps keeps your blood sugar level from getting too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia). The cells in your body need sugar for energy. However, sugar cannot go into most of your cells directly. After you eat food and your blood sugar level rises, cells in your pancreas (known as beta cells) are signaled to release insulin into your bloodstream. Insulin then attaches to and signals cells to absorb sugar from the bloodstream. Insulin is often described as a “key,” which unlocks the cell to allow sugar to enter the cell and be used for energy. If you have more sugar in your body than it needs, insulin helps store the sugar in your liver and releases it when your blood sugar level is low or if you need more sugar, such as in between meals or during physical activity. Therefore, insulin helps balance out blood sugar levels and keeps them in a normal range. As blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas secretes more insulin. If your body does not produce enough insulin or your cells are resistant to the effects of insulin, you may develop hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), which can cause long-term complications if the blood sugar levels stay elevated for long periods of time. Insulin Treatment for Diabetes People with type 1 diabetes cannot make insulin because the beta cells in their pancreas are damaged or destroyed. Therefore, these people will need insulin injections to allow their body to process glucose and avoid complications from hyperglycemia. People with type 2 diabetes do not respond well or are resistant to insulin. They may need insulin shots to help them better process Continue reading >>

Blood Glucose

Blood Glucose

The main sugar found in the blood and the body's main source of energy. Also called blood sugar. PubMed Health Glossary (Source: NIH - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) How the Body Controls Blood Glucose When the blood sugar levels rise, for instance following a meal, the pancreas releases insulin. Insulin enters the bloodstream and ensures that the sugar in the food and drinks we consume is transported from our blood to our cells, where it is transformed into energy for the body. Insulin also causes the liver and the muscles to store sugar, and stops new sugar being made in the liver. The blood sugar levels fall because of this. When blood sugar levels are low, the pancreas releases glucagon into the bloodstream. This hormone causes the cells of the liver to release stored sugar. Glucagon also ensures that the cells of the liver produce new sugar from other substances in the body. When the blood sugar level has risen, the release of glucagon is stopped once again. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) Related conditions Terms to know A cell that makes insulin. Beta cells are located in the islets of the pancreas. Checking blood glucose levels by using a blood glucose meter or blood glucose test strips that change color when touched by a blood sample in order to manage diabetes. Tubes that carry blood to and from all parts of the body. The three main types of blood vessels are arteries, capillaries, and veins. A hormone produced by the pancreas that increases the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood. A simple sugar the body manufactures from carbohydrates in the diet. Glucose is the body's main source of energy. A hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy. The beta cells of the pancreas make insulin. When Continue reading >>

Diabetes Treatment: Using Insulin To Manage Blood Sugar

Diabetes Treatment: Using Insulin To Manage Blood Sugar

Understanding how insulin affects your blood sugar can help you better manage your condition. Insulin therapy is often an important part of diabetes treatment. Understand the key role insulin plays in managing your blood sugar, and the goals of insulin therapy. What you learn can help you prevent diabetes complications. The role of insulin in the body It may be easier to understand the importance of insulin therapy if you understand how insulin normally works in the body and what happens when you have diabetes. Regulate sugar in your bloodstream. The main job of insulin is to keep the level of glucose in the bloodstream within a normal range. After you eat, carbohydrates break down into glucose, a sugar that serves as a primary source of energy, and enters the bloodstream. Normally, the pancreas responds by producing insulin, which allows glucose to enter the tissues. Storage of excess glucose for energy. After you eat — when insulin levels are high — excess glucose is stored in the liver in the form of glycogen. Between meals — when insulin levels are low — the liver releases glycogen into the bloodstream in the form of glucose. This keeps blood sugar levels within a narrow range. If your pancreas secretes little or no insulin (type 1 diabetes), or your body doesn't produce enough insulin or has become resistant to insulin's action (type 2 diabetes), the level of glucose in your bloodstream increases because it's unable to enter cells. Left untreated, high blood glucose can lead to complications such as blindness, nerve damage (neuropathy) and kidney damage. The goals of insulin therapy If you have type 1 diabetes, insulin therapy replaces the insulin your body is unable to produce. Insulin therapy is sometimes needed for type 2 diabetes and gestational diabete Continue reading >>

Controlling Blood Sugar Levels

Controlling Blood Sugar Levels

Glucose is a sugar needed by cells for respiration. It is important that the concentration of glucose in the blood is maintained at a constant level. Insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas, controls blood sugar levels in the body. It travels from the pancreas to the liver in the bloodstream. As with other responses controlled by hormones, the response is slower but longer lasting than if it had been controlled by the nervous system. Blood sugar levels- Higher tier What happens when glucose levels in the blood become too high or too low glucose level effect on pancreas effect on liver effect on glucose level too high insulin secreted into the blood liver converts glucose into glycogen goes down too low insulin not secreted into the blood liver does not convert glucose into glycogen goes up Use the animation to make sure you understand how this works. You have an old or no version of flash - you need to upgrade to view this funky content! Go to the WebWise Flash install guide Diabetes is a disorder in which the blood glucose levels remain too high. There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1, which usually develops during childhood Type 2, which usually develops in later life. The table summarises some differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Some differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes Type 1 diabetes Type 2 diabetes Who it mainly affects Children and teenagers. Adults under the age of 40. Adults, normally over the age of 40 (there is a greater risk in those who have poor diets and/or are overweight). How it works The pancreas stops making enough insulin. The body no longer responds to its insulin. How it is controlled Injections of insulin for life and an appropriate diet. Exercise and appropriate diet. When treating Type 1 diabetes, the dosage of in Continue reading >>

Normal Regulation Of Blood Glucose

Normal Regulation Of Blood Glucose

The human body wants blood glucose (blood sugar) maintained in a very narrow range. Insulin and glucagon are the hormones which make this happen. Both insulin and glucagon are secreted from the pancreas, and thus are referred to as pancreatic endocrine hormones. The picture on the left shows the intimate relationship both insulin and glucagon have to each other. Note that the pancreas serves as the central player in this scheme. It is the production of insulin and glucagon by the pancreas which ultimately determines if a patient has diabetes, hypoglycemia, or some other sugar problem. In this Article Insulin Basics: How Insulin Helps Control Blood Glucose Levels Insulin and glucagon are hormones secreted by islet cells within the pancreas. They are both secreted in response to blood sugar levels, but in opposite fashion! Insulin is normally secreted by the beta cells (a type of islet cell) of the pancreas. The stimulus for insulin secretion is a HIGH blood glucose...it's as simple as that! Although there is always a low level of insulin secreted by the pancreas, the amount secreted into the blood increases as the blood glucose rises. Similarly, as blood glucose falls, the amount of insulin secreted by the pancreatic islets goes down. As can be seen in the picture, insulin has an effect on a number of cells, including muscle, red blood cells, and fat cells. In response to insulin, these cells absorb glucose out of the blood, having the net effect of lowering the high blood glucose levels into the normal range. Glucagon is secreted by the alpha cells of the pancreatic islets in much the same manner as insulin...except in the opposite direction. If blood glucose is high, then no glucagon is secreted. When blood glucose goes LOW, however, (such as between meals, and during Continue reading >>

How The Body Controls Blood Sugar - Topic Overview

How The Body Controls Blood Sugar - Topic Overview

The bloodstream carries glucose-a type of sugar produced from the digestion of carbohydrates and other foods-to provide energy to cells throughout the body. Unused glucose is stored mainly in the liver as glycogen. Insulin, glucagon, and other hormone levels rise and fall to keep blood sugar in a normal range. Too little or too much of these hormones can cause blood sugar levels to fall too low (hypoglycemia) or rise too high (hyperglycemia). Normally, blood glucose levels increase after you eat a meal. When blood sugar rises, cells in the pancreas release insulin, causing the body to absorb glucose from the blood and lowering the blood sugar level to normal. When blood sugar drops too low, the level of insulin declines and other cells in the pancreas release glucagon, which causes the liver to turn stored glycogen back into glucose and release it into the blood. This brings blood sugar levels back up to normal. Continue reading >>

What Is Insulin?

What Is Insulin?

Insulin is a hormone; a chemical messenger produced in one part of the body to have an action on another. It is a protein responsible for regulating blood glucose levels as part of metabolism.1 The body manufactures insulin in the pancreas, and the hormone is secreted by its beta cells, primarily in response to glucose.1 The beta cells of the pancreas are perfectly designed "fuel sensors" stimulated by glucose.2 As glucose levels rise in the plasma of the blood, uptake and metabolism by the pancreas beta cells are enhanced, leading to insulin secretion.1 Insulin has two modes of action on the body - an excitatory one and an inhibitory one:3 Insulin stimulates glucose uptake and lipid synthesis It inhibits the breakdown of lipids, proteins and glycogen, and inhibits the glucose pathway (gluconeogenesis) and production of ketone bodies (ketogenesis). What is the pancreas? The pancreas is the organ responsible for controlling sugar levels. It is part of the digestive system and located in the abdomen, behind the stomach and next to the duodenum - the first part of the small intestine.4 The pancreas has two main functional components:4,5 Exocrine cells - cells that release digestive enzymes into the gut via the pancreatic duct The endocrine pancreas - islands of cells known as the islets of Langerhans within the "sea" of exocrine tissue; islets release hormones such as insulin and glucagon into the blood to control blood sugar levels. Islets are highly vascularized (supplied by blood vessels) and specialized to monitor nutrients in the blood.2 The alpha cells of the islets secrete glucagon while the beta cells - the most abundant of the islet cells - release insulin.5 The release of insulin in response to elevated glucose has two phases - a first around 5-10 minutes after g Continue reading >>

The Role Of Insulin In The Body

The Role Of Insulin In The Body

Tweet Insulin is a hormone which plays a key role in the regulation of blood glucose levels. A lack of insulin, or an inability to adequately respond to insulin, can each lead to the development of the symptoms of diabetes. In addition to its role in controlling blood sugar levels, insulin is also involved in the storage of fat. Insulin is a hormone which plays a number of roles in the body’s metabolism. Insulin regulates how the body uses and stores glucose and fat. Many of the body’s cells rely on insulin to take glucose from the blood for energy. Insulin and blood glucose levels Insulin helps control blood glucose levels by signaling the liver and muscle and fat cells to take in glucose from the blood. Insulin therefore helps cells to take in glucose to be used for energy. If the body has sufficient energy, insulin signals the liver to take up glucose and store it as glycogen. The liver can store up to around 5% of its mass as glycogen. Some cells in the body can take glucose from the blood without insulin, but most cells do require insulin to be present. Insulin and type 1 diabetes In type 1 diabetes, the body produces insufficient insulin to regulate blood glucose levels. Without the presence of insulin, many of the body’s cells cannot take glucose from the blood and therefore the body uses other sources of energy. Ketones are produced by the liver as an alternative source of energy, however, high levels of the ketones can lead to a dangerous condition called ketoacidosis. People with type 1 diabetes will need to inject insulin to compensate for their body’s lack of insulin. Insulin and type 2 diabetes Type 2 diabetes is characterised by the body not responding effectively to insulin. This is termed insulin resistance. As a result the body is less able to t Continue reading >>

How Insulin Works

How Insulin Works

Insulin is a hormone made by one of the body's organs called the pancreas. Insulin helps your body turn blood sugar (glucose) into energy. It also helps your body store it in your muscles, fat cells, and liver to use later, when your body needs it. After you eat, your blood sugar (glucose) rises. This rise in glucose triggers your pancreas to release insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin travels through the blood to your body's cells. It tells the cells to open up and let the glucose in. Once inside, the cells convert glucose into energy or store it to use later. Without insulin, your body can't use or store glucose for energy. Instead, the glucose stays in your blood. Continue reading >>

What Does Insulin Do?

What Does Insulin Do?

The word “insulin” can instill fear in many people who have or who are at risk for diabetes. Some of the beliefs around insulin are that if you have to take it, you’ll go blind or lose a limb. Or that insulin causes you to gain weight. Or that it means your diabetes is worsening. While these beliefs are understandable, the reality is that they’re not true. In fact, insulin is a life-saving medication: without it, people with Type 1 diabetes wouldn’t be alive, and many people with Type 2 diabetes would be struggling. The discovery of insulin is so important that it’s often called one of the greatest medical developments of the 20th century. This week, let’s delve into insulin and learn more about how truly amazing it is! What exactly is insulin? Insulin is a hormone. It’s made in the beta cells of the pancreas, and one of its main roles is to help regulate, or control, your blood sugar. When there’s enough insulin in the body, it helps to keep your blood sugar from going too high. In people who don’t have diabetes, blood sugars are very carefully and tightly controlled, staying within a safe and healthy range. After a person without diabetes eats a meal or a snack, the pancreas releases insulin. The insulin then signals muscle, fat, and liver cells in the body to absorb glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream to be used for energy. In this sense, insulin is like a key that unlocks the doors of the cells to allow glucose to enter. You can also think of insulin as a “storage” hormone, since when there’s more glucose than the body needs, insulin helps the body store that excess glucose in the liver to be used at a later time. Insulin also signals the liver to stop releasing glucose into the bloodstream. Insulin also helps shuttle amino acids (from pro Continue reading >>

How Insulin And Glucagon Work To Regulate Blood Sugar Levels

How Insulin And Glucagon Work To Regulate Blood Sugar Levels

The pancreas secretes insulin and glucagon, both of which play a vital role in regulating blood sugar levels. The two hormones work in balance. If the level of one hormone is outside the ideal range, blood sugar levels may spike or drop. Together, insulin and glucagon help keep conditions inside the body steady. When blood sugar is too high, the pancreas secretes more insulin. When blood sugar levels drop, the pancreas releases glucagon to bring them back up. Blood sugar and health The body converts carbohydrates from food into sugar (glucose), which serves as a vital source of energy. Blood sugar levels vary throughout the day but, in most instances, insulin and glucagon keep these levels normal. Health factors including insulin resistance, diabetes, and problems with diet can cause a person's blood sugar levels to soar or plummet. Blood sugar levels are measured in milligrams per decilitre (mg/dl). Ideal blood sugar ranges are as follows: Before breakfast - levels should be less than 100 mg/dl for a person without diabetes and 70-130 mg/dl for a person with diabetes. Two hours after meals - levels should be less than 140 mg/dl for a person without diabetes and less than 180 mg/dl for a person with diabetes. Blood sugar regulation Blood sugar levels are a measure of how effectively an individual's body uses glucose. When the body does not convert enough glucose for use, blood sugar levels remain high. Insulin helps the body's cells absorb glucose, lowering blood sugar and providing the cells with the glucose they need for energy. When blood sugar levels are too low, the pancreas releases glucagon. Glucagon forces the liver to release stored glucose, which causes the blood sugar to rise. Insulin and glucagon are both released by islet cells in the pancreas. These cells Continue reading >>

How Does Insulin Lower Blood Sugar?

How Does Insulin Lower Blood Sugar?

Everyone knows that glucose, or sugar, is needed to give the human body energy. That would not be possible without the intervention of the hormone insulin -- a protein produced by the pancreas that responds to sugar levels in the blood. Pancreatic cells take up blood sugar and secrete insulin into the bloodstream. The insulin allows other body organs -- including the brain, liver, heart and muscles -- to take up sugar to fuel their own energy requirements. Video of the Day Insulin is made and released by a type of cell in the pancreas known as a beta cell. This process is complex and occurs in response to changes in glucose concentration in the blood. Glucose concentration is affected by a person’s nutritional status, for example, if the person just ate a full meal or has been fasting for several hours. It is also influenced by hormones released by the intestines that are involved in the digestion of what has been eaten. Further, the brain releases factors into the blood based on its energy status and requirements. A cascade of events begins when a person has eaten something, for example, a piece of bread. Bread is rich in carbohydrates, which when broken down by digestion become the sugar glucose. Glucose is absorbed by the intestines into the bloodstream, raising the blood glucose level, and transported to the pancreatic beta cells. Here it is broken down further into energy known as ATP, and this causes insulin to be released into the blood. Insulin then interacts with the body’s cells and organs, prompting them to absorb glucose from the blood to make their own energy. For example, the heart muscle needs glucose to make energy to sustain its pumping action. Decreasing Blood Sugar This movement of glucose into the body's cells lowers the levels of sugar in the bl Continue reading >>

How To Stabilize Your Blood Sugar

How To Stabilize Your Blood Sugar

Life with type 2 diabetes can sometimes seem like an hourly or even minute-by-minute effort to stabilize your blood sugar. All of the recommendations and drugs you’ve been given as part of your type 2 diabetes treatment plan are intended to help you reach — and keep — healthy blood sugar levels most of the time. But doctors are learning that to control type 2 diabetes well, better information about why blood sugar matters and how to manage it is essential. The Facts About Diabetes and Blood Sugar As the American Diabetes Association (ADA) explains, your body needs sugar (glucose) for fuel, and there’s a fairly complicated process that makes it possible for your body to use that sugar. Insulin, which is made by the pancreas, is the hormone that enables the cells in your body to take advantage of sugar. Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body isn’t able to remove sugar from your blood. This can happen if your body stops being sensitive to insulin or if it starts to respond in a delayed or exaggerated way to changes in your blood sugar. Diabetes is signaled by an elevated blood sugar level of more than 126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) for a fasting blood test, or more than 200 mg/dL at any time during the day. It can also be indicated by a hemoglobin A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher, a measure of the percentage of blood sugar attached to hemoglobin in the blood during the past two to three months. (Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout the body. So an A1C of 6.5 means that 6.5 percent of your red blood cells have sugar attached to them.) Unchecked high blood sugar gradually damages the blood vessels in your body. Over the long term, this slow, progressive harm can lead to a dangerous loss of sensation in your legs and fe Continue reading >>

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